Qld opposition rejects ICT Minister's attack

Summary:Queensland ICT opposition spokesperson Fiona Simpson has rejected comments by state ICT Minister Robert Schwarten yesterday that one of her party's election policies would have a "disastrous" effect on government.

Queensland ICT opposition spokesperson Fiona Simpson has rejected comments by state ICT Minister Robert Schwarten yesterday that one of her party's election policies would have a "disastrous" effect on government.

Qld shadow ICT Minister
Fiona Simpson

(Credit: LNP)

Labor Minister Schwarten yesterday said a policy he believed would see a LNP government cut $30 million from government technology spending showed the party's ignorance of the importance of ICT spending. However Simpson, shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Main Roads and Transport, denied the claim.

"The government doesn't seem to understand that spending money more wisely creates jobs as well as getting more bang for the taxpayers buck," she said in a statement today.

"We have had a strong response from industry insiders alerting us to poor management of the government's ICT budget and they are keen to see their industry advanced by better management within the public sector, in partnership with the private sector."

Simpson added the state's ICT industry (represented by individuals within government and the private sector) was talking with her office about better ways to spend taxpayers' money and achieve smarter outcomes in Queensland.

"The minister may not be listening to industry but his own public servants know efficiencies will secure Queensland jobs, not threaten them," she added.

Schwarten's attack yesterday suffered a misstep due to his assumption it was his usual parliamentary opponent, Shadow Minister for Housing Affordability and Public Works, Ray Stevens, that was responsible for ICT policy within the opposition.

However, yesterday the minister told ZDNet.com.au it was an honest mistake to make because neither Stevens nor Simpson had questioned him in parliament on matters of ICT policy. Stevens normally opposes Schwarten due to the minister's additional portfolios of Public Works and Housing.

We have had a strong response from industry insiders alerting us to poor management of the government's ICT budget

Fiona Simpson

The news comes as both sides of politics have come under pressure from Queensland's ICT industry this week, with a lobby group representing a large part of the industry placing advertisements demanding support from both sides of politics to boost technology jobs and the industry as a whole.

Today 100 of the state's ICT leaders are planning to converge on Brisbane to urge Premier Anna Bligh and Springborg to commit to the industry's strategy of creating 30,000 new ICT jobs in the state, adding to the industry's existing 70,000-strong workforce.

Some of those attending include Data#3 managing director John Grant, Sundata managing director Kon Kakanis, Technology One operating officer Roger Phare, SMS Management and Technology associate Grant Cause and University of Queensland IT services and Australian Computer Emergency Response Team (AusCERT) director Nick Tate.

Others named by the Queensland ICT Industry Workgroup include former Queensland Government CIO and head of Microsoft's Queensland division Peter Grant, GBST Holdings chair John Puttick and Peoplebank Queensland manager John Egan. The state election will be held on 21 March.

Topics: Government : AU, Emerging Tech, Government

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